Rationale and Scope
Recently Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) has become one of disruptive innovations with great potential to change our economy, culture and society fundamentally. DLT is an open, distributed, secure ledger that can record all transactions or online activities among relevant entities efficiently and in a verifiable manner.
DLT is in theory secure by design and an example of a distributed computing system with high fault tolerance. Decentralised consensus can therefore be achieved with a DLT.
It enables innovative financial/non-financial decentralized applications/service, such as e-services and IoT-based services, which eliminate the need for third party intermediaries. The outcome of this FG could be applicable to e-services.
This makes DLT suitable for the recording of events, payment transaction records, and other records management activities, identity management, transaction processing, and proving data provenance.
The FG DLT will be an open platform for relevant stakeholders – such as telecom regulators, financial regulators, services providers, platform providers, network operators; international organizations and industry forums and consortia – to share knowledge, best practices and lessons learned in the field with the objective of identifying the standardized frameworks needed to support the scaling up of applications and services based on DLT globally.
A FG DLT, as proposed under the auspices of TSAG, could address a number of topics of DLT, for example, use-cases and applications, requirements for the implementation, regulatory and policy aspects, security and privacy aspects, among many other aspects.
A FG DLT could consist of several Working groups that deal with those issues and topics mentioned above.
ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology (FG DLT)
The ITU-T FG DLT will analyse applications and services based on DLT that can be standardized by ITU-T study groups, identify best practices and guidance which could support the implementation of such applications and services on a global scale and identify a way forward that ITU-T SGs need to study in order to meet the urgent market needs.
It will develop a security standardization roadmap for interoperable services based on DLT taking into consideration the activities currently undertaken by the various relevant groups, standards developing organizations (SDOs) and forums and a regulatory toolkit which may be used by national policymakers and regulatory authorities from ITU Member States.
This Focus Group will work closely with relevant study groups in ITU-T and will also invite non ITU-T members to participate in its work.
To support the development of base materials for global standards for applications and services based on DLT, the objectives of this focus group include:
- Establish liaisons and relationships with other organizations which could contribute to the standardization activities based on DLT.
- Describe the ecosystem for applications and services based on DLT and identify the respective roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders in the ecosystem.
- Identify successful use cases for implementation of applications and services based on DLT.
- Suggest future ITU-T study items and related actions for various ITU-T study groups for example on:
- Concepts, coverage, vision and use cases of services based on DLT.
- Characteristics and requirements for services based on DLT.
- Architectural framework and communication technologies of services based on DLT.
- Analyse and evaluate the current status of DLT and its maturity.
- Research security and privacy aspects related to applications and services based on DLT.
- Examine means for extending on-line trust using DLT.
- Provide a platform to share findings and for dialogue on policy and regulatory implications of DLT between enterprises working on DLT applications and regulators from various industrial/economic sectors.
- Identify stakeholders with whom ITU-T could collaborate further on and potential collective action and specific next steps.
This Focus Group will work in close collaboration with all ITU-T study groups, especially SG11, SG13, SG16, SG17 and SG20. This FG DLT will coordinate with FG on DPM and with the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative under auspicious of ITU-T Study Group 20 as appropriate.
This FG DLT will collaborate with relevant entities, in accordance with Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
These entities include the following: financial institutions, telecommunications regulators, financial regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), policy makers, SDOs, industry forums and consortia (such as ISO TC 307, ISO/IEC JTC 1, GSMA, SWIFT etc.), payment systems networks, remittances companies, ICT companies, academic institutions, research institutions and other relevant organizations.
Specific Tasks and deliverables
- Utilize the deliverables related to DLT that were produced by FG DFS and study gaps between those by FG DFS and what need to be achieved.
- Collect and document information on current initiatives and activities from the stakeholders involved in applications and services based on DLT. This will involve developing use cases and identifying standards related to services based on DLT across the world.
- Develop a document which reflects how technologies enable applications and services by the underlying nature of the ecosystem including best practices of policy and regulatory framework, risk assessment methodologies and business models being used.
- Develop a report on the definitions of terminologies and taxonomy for applications and services based on DLT and its ecosystem.
- Develop a report on the potential barriers for the deployment of services based on DLT.
- Study and analyse the implications of mandating interoperability and interconnection of services based on DLT. This will include the development of a standardization roadmap for interoperable services based on DLT taking into consideration the interoperability challenges and best practices.
- Study and analyse the implications of standards for cross border remittances.
- Study and analyse technology competitiveness issues that may hinder the deployment of services based on DLT.
- Develop a regulatory toolkit which can be used by policymakers and regulatory authorities for scaling up services based on DLT uptake.
- Organise regional thematic workshops in order to collect inputs from various stakeholders. The workshops will be a platform to investigate best practices for the harmonization of legal and regulatory framework for applications and services based on DLT globally. The workshops will bring together the Telecommunication Regulators, Financial Regulators, Policy makers and other relevant parties to identify issues and priorities, exchange information and best practices through peer learning and knowledge dissemination processes and identifying possible policy interventions enabling financial inclusion.
- Draft technical reports describing and addressing the standardization gaps and identifying future standardization work for ITU-T study groups in the area of services based on DLT.
- Send the final deliverables to the parent group, at least four calendar weeks before the parent group meeting.
The parent group is
See clause 2.3 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
See clause 3 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7. A list of participants will be maintained for reference purposes and reported to the parent group.
It is important to mention that the participation in this Focus Group has to be based on contributions and active participations.
See clause 5 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
See clauses 4 and 10.2 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
The frequency and location of meetings will be determined by the Focus Group and the overall meetings plan will be announced as soon as possible. The Focus Group will work electronically using teleconferences and with face-to-face meetings. Meetings will be held as determined by the Focus Group and the meetings will be announced by electronic means (e.g., e-mail and website, etc.) at least four weeks in advance.
Contributions are to be submitted at least twelve calendar days before the meeting takes place.
The working language is English.
Approval of deliverables
Approval of deliverables shall be taken by consensus.
See clause 13 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
See clause 11 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.
Announcement of Focus Group formation
The formation of the Focus Group will be announced via TSB Circular to all ITU membership, via the ITU-T Newslog and other means, including communication with the other involved organizations.
Milestones and duration of the Focus Group
The Focus Group lifetime is one and half year from the first meeting, but extensible by decision of the parent group if necessary.
A preliminary set of milestones includes:
- First Focus Group meeting: Third quarter of 2017
See clause 9 of Recommendation ITU-T A.7.